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Discussion Starter #1
ok I hear all this hype about vacume tube technology, and how its THAT much better than solid state electronics or whatnot...



WHY is it better ???


just who thinks it IS better ?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by illnastyimpreza /forum/post/12945223


ok I hear all this hype about vacume tube technology, and how its THAT much better than solid state electronics or whatnot...


WHY is it better ???

It isn't in most ways.

Quote:
just who thinks it IS better ?

Some audiophiles with "golden ears" who like the warmer sound that tubes generally have due to the high output impedances. Many of these might prefer FET or class D amps also. But if it sounds different from flat it is really a kind of distortion. This effect can vary with loudspeaker type too, and some esoteric styles might benefit.


Tubes and FET transistors work very similarly but tubes do have one advantage. They are very rugged and less prone to catastrophic failure from things like shorting speaker leads. They also need less protecive circuitry that can cause problems in cheap transistor designs.


Nobody who lived with tubes back when that was all we had would want to go back there if still sane. I remember having to balance the output stages every month or two, replacing tubes using a tube tester to make matched sets, throwing away like half the tubes I bought because they were mechanically noisy or they arced.


Then again some audiophiles like this extra hassle. Same people who like 78 and 33 rpm disks still and tone arms with 100 different adjustments.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
^ verry informative post. I had been under the interpretation that tubes where better in all ways...


I will have to change my thinking



I still wonder why Vacume Tube car amplifier are so much more money....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by illnastyimpreza /forum/post/12947230


^ verry informative post. I had been under the interpretation that tubes where better in all ways...


I will have to change my thinking



I still wonder why Vacume Tube car amplifier are so much more money....

Probably the same reason we pay $300 or more for our projection bulbs. The market is small and most manufacturers of tubes went out of that business. It is now a very small market for the types used in audio equipment.


Vacuum tube home amplifiers also cost a lot more today but they used to be very affordable if not cheaper than transistor amplifiers. I think McIntosh was one of the last big holdouts making lots of tube amps, and that was partly because they were very reliable and therefore widely used for pa systems as well as audio systems.


There are some inherent added design costs too with tubes. One that comes to mind is you need a very clean extra filtered DC for the filaments. If you don't you will get audible noise or hum. I remember they used to make EEG machines for hospitals that were using tubes and the preamp stages were run off a 12 volt battery because of this. In a car alternators add noise too.

Filaments are just an added path for it to get into the sound.


Tubes generate lots of heat too. People complain here regularly about their Onkyo running too hot because it feels warm to the touch. With tubes you will get burned if you touch one for 1/2 second, while it is on.


Finally car audio is kind of a problem due to the 6 or 12 volt car batteries. It is even harder to get tubes to work at those voltages. House line voltages are much more friendly. Tubes are suited for high voltages and low currents, the opposite of most transistors. So generally at least for 6 volts they used some means to step up the voltages. That is why most tube amps need output transformers and transistor ones don't.
 

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Tubes are many times more linear than transistors. To make an acceptable audio amplifier with transistors you have to use large amounts of negative feedback to reduce the distortion. With tubes it is possible to make even a zero-feedback design which has low distortion.

At the end of the day, you really have to listen for yourself and decide if tubes are your cup of tea. Personally I use transistors in my AV setup and tubes in my stereo setup.

If you want to dip your toe in the water, and you can use a soldering iron, I can recommend the WD88VA kit here (scroll down) http://wduk.worldomain.net/acatalog/AmpKits.html


I have heard it and it is an excellent amp.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhe /forum/post/12946789


It isn't in most ways.




Some audiophiles with "golden ears" who like the warmer sound that tubes generally have due to the high output impedances. Many of these might prefer FET or class D amps also. But if it sounds different from flat it is really a kind of distortion. This effect can vary with loudspeaker type too, and some esoteric styles might benefit.


Tubes and FET transistors work very similarly but tubes do have one advantage. They are very rugged and less prone to catastrophic failure from things like shorting speaker leads. They also need less protecive circuitry that can cause problems in cheap transistor designs.


Nobody who lived with tubes back when that was all we had would want to go back there if still sane. I remember having to balance the output stages every month or two, replacing tubes using a tube tester to make matched sets, throwing away like half the tubes I bought because they were mechanically noisy or they arced.


Then again some audiophiles like this extra hassle. Same people who like 78 and 33 rpm disks still and tone arms with 100 different adjustments.

Not all true anymore. I just bought on of the new PrimaLuna Tube integrateds, and they have no need for matched set tubes, have a 'adaptive autobias' that works full time, has a 'soft start' feature that brings the tubes gently to life over a 30 sec start up, and all the tubes are conservatively driven for long life.


After 27 years in the audio business, I have (finally) embraced Tubes, and I love them. The sound is wonderful, and, with this modern interpretation, it's maintinence free. the KT-88's should last 2500-5000 hours. The 12AX7's and 12AU7's about 10,000.


The product just took Absolute Sound's top honors, Editor's Choice AND Product of the Year, 2007.
 

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Bob Carver can duplicate the sound of any amplifier in a few days. He did it once to prove it. Smart fella and he used a difference channel to keep tweaking his amplifier until nothing could be heard.
 
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